Home made Digital TV Antenna

Most people who know me know that I don’t watch much TV. TV is my ADD trigger or something. If there is a TV on, I can’t help myself but to watch it. So, I keep making TVs into fishtanks or otherwise getting rid of them.

I do have 1 TV that I like (besides my fishtank TV). A friend from an old job gave it to me, thanks Trudi! It is a small, black and white 5 inch AM/FM/TV with AV in. It can run on internal batteries. I mean, it’s the perfect emergency TV. Great for Hurricane Country. The best part, is it came with a schematic. I can fix the goofy thing if it ever died.

Well, come Feb of 2009, the antenna won’t work anymore. So I picked up a Digital TV converter with analog pass through. The analog passthrough is important to me because I will be playing with enough old video stuff that not having it could be a pain.

Anyway. I hooked it up. No TV. Didn’t surprise me, as I don’t get regular TV clearly with the internal antenna.

A challenge.

So, I started looking online for quick and easy, DIY TV antennas.

I found one!

Coat Hanger HDTV Antenna: Better Than Store Bought! AMAZING!The funniest bloopers are right here

It looked like a fairly good VHF UHF antenna.

I made one. It took me about an hour. I got to play with my torch. Any night is a good night when you get to play with fire, right? My soldering iron isn’t hot enough to work well with the 12 gauge solid wire I used for the antenna.

I took a video with my Hi-Def video camera of my five inch TV getting High Definition Broadcast Digital Television. Kinda ironic, isn’t it?

I get 10 stations for 25 channels? Is that how you say that? A lot of each station has multiple channels in them. The only really important channel I get is the Weather Channel.

A really good website to visit to see what you should expect for TV reception is TV Fool. I am getting about what it says that I should.

I am thinking I will make a ‘cleaner’ antenna. I want to get a matching transformer on this antenna to see if that works better. I will also be making a few other types over the winter I think. Just stuff to play around with.

I did notice that if I hook my converter box up to the antenna on the foot and a half cable I left myself, I don’t get much for reception, but if I use the 40 foot cable I have, I get much better reception. I will need to investigate cable length for reception and such. I am guessing that the long cable is helping match the antenna to to the receiver. Just a hunc though.

**UPDATE** I made a simple backplane reflector for it that nearly doubled the signal strength I can get.

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  1. just an fyi. you’re not getting hdtv with that tv, or any tv that uses a converter box. You are however getting dtv. big difference…

  2. I believe I am GETTING HDTV from the digital TV signal, I just can’t VIEW it, as it’s being down sampled to a standard TV resolution.

    I suppose I should look at the book that came with the converter box to verify.

  3. Just so you know, HDTV runs on a digital signal so it is not that different than a DTV signal. In other words, if it pulls in DTV well, it will most likely pull in HDTV.

  4. I made a simple DTV antenna from 3/4″ PVC pipe, a 3/4 ” PVC T-fitting, 2 ten inch lengths of #12 bare copper wire bent on one end to be held in place on the PVC pipe by wood screws and half inch washers. Put a flexible piece of sheet metal behind the wires (acts as a reflector) on the opposite side of the PVC pipe but made sure the sheet metal or screws didn’t touch the copper wires. Sheet metal held in place by small sheet metal screws. I bought a connector at Radio Shack for $5 and connected the bent ends of the copper wire to the connector and ran a length of coax cable down to the back of the DTV receiver. Mounted the antenna firmly to my RV and pushed the ten foot section PVC pipe attached to the bottom of the T-fitting six inches into the ground to keep the antenna from being ripped off the wall by high winds. Antenna extends about two feet over RV, too. Now I get all the local DTV stations here in Jackson, MS and only have very minor freezes if there are storm clouds overhead.

    Here’s a link to the picture of what I made:


  5. It’s too bad you can’t see anything in the second video it was so dark. I built the first one tho and it works pretty good except when my fat wife farts then it freezes for about a second.

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